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Braves' five-run eighth dooms sloppy Padres

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
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ATLANTA -- After struggling to a 6-6 record against NL West teams on their longest homestand of the season, the Atlanta Braves should realize the rest of the season is going to be just as tough, according to Chipper Jones.

"Maybe some people in here thought we were going to glide into the playoffs, but it ain't going to happen," Jones said after the Braves, helped by three San Diego errors, rallied past the Padres 6-2 Sunday night.

Two of the Padres' errors came in the eighth inning, when the Braves scored five runs to salvage a win in the three-game series. Three of the runs were unearned.

"There are too many good teams in the league," Jones said. "We let an opportunity slide in this homestand."

The Padres led 2-1 after scoring two runs off John Smoltz in the seventh.

Marcus Giles led off the eighth with a single off reliever Akinori Otsuka (1-5) and moved to third on Jones' double to center. Damian Jackson then bobbled Andruw Jones' grounder for an error, allowing Giles to score to tie the game as Jones beat the late throw at first.

Both runners advanced on Adam LaRoche's deep fly to left field. Otsuka issued an intentional walk to Jeff Francoeur to load the bases -- giving the rookie his first walk after 127 at-bats. Ryan Langerhans followed with a grounder to Mark Sweeney at first -- ruled an infield hit that drove in Chipper Jones. Sweeney threw wildly to home for the second error of the inning, allowing Andruw Jones to follow Chipper Jones across the plate.

Brian McCann drove in Francoeur with a sacrifice fly to center, and pinch-hitter Julio Franco drove in Langerhans with a single to right.

"The ball got a little hot in that inning," Braves manager Bobby Cox said. "We did hit the ball well in that inning also, but we finally caught a break. ... We needed to beat them once, anyway."

Jorge Sosa (8-2) earned the win in relief.

With the comeback, the Braves snapped a three-game losing streak and protected their 3½-game lead over second-place Philadelphia in the NL East.

The Padres (61-62) fell back below .500, but still lead the NL West by four games.

"We broke down in the eighth inning," Padres manager Bruce Bochy said. "That opened up the floodgates. ... We were playing flawless ball until the eighth."

According to Braves records, the Padres could have become the first National League team to sweep a season series from the Braves since they moved to Atlanta in 1966.

"I didn't know that; I'm glad you didn't tell me before the game," Chipper Jones said. "I'm glad we could avoid that from being a hot topic in the morning."

The Padres swept three games from the Braves in San Diego from May 16-18 before taking the first two games of this weekend's series.

The Braves now play the Padres only six times each year. Until the schedule format changed recently, the teams met 18 times each season.

The Padres took a 2-1 lead on Sweeney's pinch-hit two-run single off Smoltz in the seventh inning. Sweeney, hitting for pitcher Brian Lawrence, drove in Xavier Nady, who doubled, and Jackson, who walked, with a single to center.

Smoltz drove in McCann from first with a fifth-inning triple to give the Braves a 1-0 lead.

"Bobby told me to drive the runner in," Smoltz said. "It was awesome McCann was able to score on that."

Smoltz gave up eight hits and two runs in seven innings. He walked two and struck out five.

"I've been busting it," Smoltz said. "This is as much as I've battled for a long time. It was a playoff game for me."

Smoltz has made 12 starts after Braves losses. He is 8-1 and the team is 10-2 in those games.

Lawrence gave up five hits and one run in six innings. He walked three and struck out four and escaped a fourth-inning bases-loaded jam without allowing a run.

"We fought hard for pretty much the whole game, and then it slipped away," Lawrence said.

The Braves did not have a hit off Lawrence until the fourth inning, when they loaded the bases with no outs on a leadoff double by Rafael Furcal, a bunt single by Marcus Giles and a walk to Chipper Jones. Lawrence struck out Andruw Jones and then ended the inning with a double-play grounder to short from LaRoche.

Notes

The triple for Smoltz was the second of his career. His first triple came on April 6, 1989, at Houston. The 1989 season was his first full season in the majors. ... The Padres completed a 4-2 road trip.

 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Players of the Game
Atlanta

A. Jones
AB 4
R 1
H 1
HR 0
RBI 1
San Diego

M. Sweeney
AB 2
R 0
H 1
HR 0
RBI 2
 
San Diego Padres
Dave Roberts, CF5020001 .267
Joe Randa, 3B5010014 .276
Ryan Klesko, LF4010023 .255
    Scott Linebrink, P0000000 .000
    Akinori Otsuka, P0000000 .000
    Paul Quantrill, P0000000 .000
Brian Giles, RF3000102 .289
Mark Loretta, 2B4010001 .295
Xavier Nady, 1B-LF4110011 .266
Damian Jackson, SS3110101 .266
David Ross, C3020000 .236
Brian Lawrence, P2000022 .061
   a- Mark Sweeney, PH-1B2012011 .331
Totals3521022716 
a-singled for Lawrence in the 7th
Batting
2B - Dave Roberts (15, Smoltz), Joe Randa (34, Smoltz), Xavier Nady (11, Smoltz), Damian Jackson (9, Smoltz)
SH - David Ross (2)
RBI - Mark Sweeney 2 (33)
SB - Mark Loretta (8, 2nd base off Sosa/McCann)
Team LOB - 9
Fielding
DP - Lawrence-Loretta-Nady, Jackson-Loretta-Nady
E - Damian Jackson (5, Misplayed grounder), Mark Loretta (4, Misplayed grounder), Mark Sweeney (4, Wild throw)
San Diego Padres
Brian Lawrence 6511340 4.58
Scott Linebrink (H,18) 1000010 2.45
Akinori Otsuka (BS,5; L,1-5) 0.1352100 2.60
Paul Quantrill 0.2100000 5.19
IBB - Francoeur by Akinori Otsuka
Pitches-Strikes - Brian Lawrence 84-53, Scott Linebrink 11-7, Akinori Otsuka 15-8, Paul Quantrill 16-11
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Brian Lawrence 9-4, Akinori Otsuka 1-1
Batters Faced - Brian Lawrence 25, Scott Linebrink 3, Akinori Otsuka 6, Paul Quantrill 3
Atlanta Braves
Rafael Furcal, SS4010111 .276
Marcus Giles, 2B4120012 .304
Chipper Jones, 3B3110100 .309
Andruw Jones, CF4111023 .272
Adam LaRoche, 1B3000101 .259
Jeff Francoeur, RF3100113 .370
Ryan Langerhans, LF4121002 .252
Brian McCann, C3101001 .284
John Smoltz, P2011000 .161
   a- Pete Orr, PH1000000 .302
    Jorge Sosa, P0000000 .059
   b- Julio Franco, PH1011000 .299
    Kyle Farnsworth, P0000000 .000
Totals326954513 
a-popped out for Smoltz in the 7th
b-singled for Sosa in the 8th
Batting
2B - Rafael Furcal (21, Lawrence), Chipper Jones (24, Otsuka)
3B - John Smoltz (1, Lawrence)
SF - Brian McCann (1)
RBI - Andruw Jones (95), Ryan Langerhans (30), Brian McCann (14), John Smoltz (3), Julio Franco (40)
2-OUT RBI - John Smoltz (2), Julio Franco (20)
SB - Rafael Furcal (35, 2nd base off Lawrence/Ross)
Team LOB - 7
Fielding
DP - Furcal-Giles-LaRoche
E - Kyle Farnsworth (1, Wild throw on pickoff attempt)
Atlanta Braves
John Smoltz 7822250 2.88
Jorge Sosa (W,8-2) 1100010 2.63
Kyle Farnsworth 1100010 2.32
Pitches-Strikes - John Smoltz 102-66, Jorge Sosa 15-9, Kyle Farnsworth 16-11
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - John Smoltz 9-6
Batters Faced - John Smoltz 30, Jorge Sosa 4, Kyle Farnsworth 4
Game Information
Attendance - 26077
Game Time - 2:42
Temperature - 89
Umpires - Home - Alfonso Marquez, First Base - Ted Barrett, Second Base - Rob Drake, Third Base - Rick Reed